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THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

with contemporary needs. Whether, for example, we consider
the complaints about the barrenness of the Jesuit schools which
came from every part of France in 1762, or the condemnation of
the grammar schools of England by Lord Chief Justice Kenyon
in 1795—" empty walls without scholars and everything neglected
but the receipt of salaries and endowments "—we get a painful
impression of the sorry state into which the old-time schools
had declined. To crown all, the universities throughout Europe
had with but few exceptions fallen from their high estate as
centres of intellectual life. In the course of the century, old
foundations like Paris and Oxford sank to depths unknown in
their long history, and even the younger universities were in
the majority of cases so feeble and inert that men of outstanding
ability, like Leibnitz, were reluctant to associate themselves with
them.

It is a dark picture ; and yet it would be a mistake to paint it
so darkly as to obscure the gleams of promise in the background.
The most hopeful feature in the situation was undoubtedly the
fact that most people were under no delusions about the badness
of the schools and universities, and were anxious to see them
reformed. This made it easy for men of idealistic temper to plan
grand schemes involving radical changes in educational outlook,
and for more practical men to attempt to bring about improve-
ments in the existing order of things ; and in both respects much
was done to make straight the way for the educational advances
of the Nineteenth Century.

The greatest immediate progress was made in the neglected
sphere of popular education. As we have seen, a beginning had
been made here in France by the institution of Christian schools
by La Salle in 1682: intended, as an ordinance of Louis XIV
put it, " to instruct all children and in particular those whose
parents have made profession of the pretended reformed reEgion
in the catechism and the prayers which are necessary, and also
to teach reading and writing to those who will require this
knowledge." About the same time, " charity schools" were
established in England for a similar purpose, both by the dissenting
churches and by the Church of England. The former were the
first in the field, having taken advantage of the freedom permitted
to non-Anglicans in the reign of James II to open schools for their
own children. But their efforts were eclipsed by the founding of